Pinangat na Isda

Fish Poached in Kamias and Tomatoes

Pinangat na Isda is a dish cooked in kamias, a sour and tart fruit common is Southeast Asia.

The taste is quite similar to Sinigang na Isda, though not as tart and not in soup form.

Traditionally, it is cooked with kamias, but tamarind is also a good alternative.

The sour fruit is the base of the sauce, then tomatoes and fish sauce are added.

Just enough water is needed to cook the fish without making it look like a soup.

This recipe is for Fish Pinangat, which is different from the taro-leaves-in-coconut-sauce Pinangat from the Bicol region.

It is interesting to note, too, this Pinangat recipe from the book Philippine Cookery and Household Hints by Herminia Villacorta-Alvarez, published in 1982:

The recipe in the book states that Pinangat is a method of cooking fish in palayok or native pot with salt and little water over low heat.

It says this is a preservation method so the fish could last for weeks.

I think it's one of the ways of curing fish the time when refrigerators were not available in every household.


  • Whole Fish
  • Kamias or Tamarind


  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Fish Sauce (Patis)
  • Ground Pepper


  • 2 pounds Fish of your choice
  • 10 pcs. Kamias
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium Onion, sliced
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (Patis)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1  Boil the water with about 8 pieces of the kamias or tamarind, mash and strain the liquid.

2 In a pan, set the kamias liquid, the remaining 4 pieces Kamias, onion, tomatoes and fish sauce, and bring to a boil.

3 Add in the fish. If the liquid is drying out before the fish is thoroughly cooked, add a little water.

4 Season with salt and pepper.


  • Substitute with the packaged Sinigang sa Kamias or Sinigang sa Sampalok soup mix, but start with a couple tablespoons to start and just add more if needed. The mix is designed for soup so it could make the dish salty and too tart -- you could always add if you need more.
  • Use fish fillets instead of whole fish, but cook in less time than when cooking whole fish. Fish fillets are quite delicate, they cook much faster and could break apart if left to boil for more than 5 minutes.

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